Kegel Exercises Help Incontinence After Pregnancy
WebMD News Archive
Continuing to do the exercises for the rest of their life is
crucial if women are going to keep the muscles toned and prevent further
weakening, says urologist Nicholas Franco, MD.
"Gynecologists tell their patients they need to do the
Kegel exercises, but I think where they fail is to spend the time showing them
how to do it properly or to have a nurse or someone in the office show them how
to do it," says Franco, head of female urology at Tulane University School
of Medicine in New Orleans. "At the very least, check on them from time to
time to see that [patients] are doing it right. Everybody knows about Kegels it
seems, but not everybody does them the right way."
To perform a Kegel exercise, experts recommend that women first
identify their pelvic floor muscles by starting and stopping urination. Once
you have located the muscles, simply tighten and relax the muscle over and
Biofeedback and electrostimulation are especially useful for
women who have trouble doing Kegels, says Paul D. Indman, MD.
"Some women don't have the muscle strength to even begin to
do it," says Indman, a gynecologist in private practice in Los Gatos,
Once you are sure you're doing the exercises correctly, Franco
says, it takes just a few minutes to do them before getting out of bed in the
morning, after emptying your bladder, on your lunch break, while sitting at a
red light, while watching TV, and before falling asleep at night.
"You have to do them at least four or five times a day in
sets of five," he says. "That's about 20 or 25 contractions divided
over the course of the day and it doesn't take much to do five contractions. It
just takes a little discipline to do it every day."
For most younger women, Kegel exercises done correctly can
strengthen pelvic floor muscles. For those who can't, Indman says surgery is an
option, when a woman decides she's ready for it.